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What is 'Technique'?


Sparkly
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Hi all,

 

Sorry for the odd question but I've been wondering, what exactly is meant by technique? 

At festivals I've heard the adjudicator make such comments as, 'secure technique shown', or 'needs to strengthen the technique'. I've always thought it means things like good posture, stretched feet etc, is that right?

I've also heard the word 'placement' a lot and I'm not sure what that means either!

I love watching dance, not just my own daughters but other children too and of course professionals, but I have no idea if the dancing is technically good or not. If I enjoy a dance it's because I've found it entertaining or moving in some way but I'd love to know the technicalities of it too!

 

Sparkly x

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You will pick things up as you go along Sparkly. When my DD first started dancing I knew absolutely nothing, and whilst I am far from expert now, I've learned a fair bit - mainly from my DD. I used to be impressed by the kids who could get their legs up the highest, or the most "showy" performances at festivals etc, but now I know that those things are not always good. As pictures has said, it's possible to get the leg higher in an arabesque by rotating the hips, but that's not technically correct. Or a triple pirouette might look flashy but if the dancer can't maintain the turnout or finish the sequence properly they would be better off doing a single and getting the technique correct. In this day and age when TV programmes and social media seem to be pushing flexibility and "showyness" as what young dancers should be aiming for, it's really important that they learn the technically correct way to do things, as aside from it being hard to "unlearn" bad technique later, it's potentially very damaging to young bodies.

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4 hours ago, Pups_mum said:

. In this day and age when TV programmes and social media seem to be pushing flexibility and "showyness" as what young dancers should be aiming for, it's really important that they learn the technically correct way to do things, as aside from it being hard to "unlearn" bad technique later, it's potentially very damaging to young bodies.

I am totally in agreement with you on this one. There are so many studios now offering more general dance training. With students constantly posting the next 'must have' splits, over splits and whatever they call it (I can't keep up!) as there way to being a great dancer. A "one hit wonder" as I call it. A showy routine, sparkly costume and a well known catchy tune does hide the truth from an adjudicator. They have seen it all before, hence the comment "improve technique". 

 

Just like a building, without solid foundations they do not last. Without solid technique a dancer will not progress. Their work can appear sloppy and the dancer will be more prone to injury. 

 

 

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I think 'secure' technique means they maintain the correct positioning/placement/alignment etc at the same time as performing. Things like landing jumps in fifth position, or keeping turnout in turns. The whole foundation of technique is designed to protect the body/joints – eg tracking knees over toes – but the human body likes to take the easiest way of doing something. So all those years of classes and repetition are designed to train the muscle memory so technique doesn't fall by the wayside when you step on stage.

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Thank you for your replies. From what I've seen it's easier to spot bad technique than good. I remember one festival where all the girls from a particular school were doing back flips but with bent elbows and heads skimming the floor, I could hardly watch! 

Hopefully the more I watch, the more I'll learn, particularly when it comes to identifying things done well 😃

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Some teachers are so great in the way they articulate themselves that you can see their teaching coming through their students technique, hard to explain but other mums or teachers and choreographers might understand what I'm trying to say. 

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On 26/08/2017 at 17:18, Picturesinthefirelight said:

For example an arabesque performed at 90 degrees but with properly aligned hips, no fishing or sickling etc etc is better technique than one where the leg is higher but the body is out of kilter. 

 

Or 45 if, like me, you can't get to 90! :lol:

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I agree trog!! However once you get more to more professional exam level like Intermediate or Advanced you would have to perform with the leg up at least at 90 ( with correct placement of course) to pass .....so guess that's the sort of yardstick.

If you are lucky enough to stand behind a professional or ex professional dancer at the barre they will often have a perfect arabesque leg ....just at 90 but straight as an arrow and SO strong looking....so well held in the hip....it's always a delight to see.

I'd love to get my leg at a strong 90 as then you can do a really decent penchée ......which unfortunately never looks that good if the leg is below 90 as the line just isn't there.

 

i know what sickle foot means but what does "fishing" mean? Is it where in some arabesques the foot sort of seems "turned up" as it were  at the end? I have seen professionals do this and I don't know whether it's to make the leg appear a little higher? Personally I prefer the foot to be aligned with the leg but I suppose certain fashions do start creeping in.

 

Ballet is a classical art so guess some of it is based on classical sculptures and structures with certain shapes being aesthetically pleasing to the eye....I think it's based on spirals?? But I've never studied art so don't really know but somehow I think I do recognise good technique when I see it.

However Sparkly where "the Dance " is concerned you said you liked being entertained and moved by the dancer and that's part of the story too. Sometimes you may hear someone say " well he/she was very good technically but didn't draw me into the performance much" 

 

The very best classical dancers seem to have both an excellent technique and the ability to move you in whichever way is appropriate ....joy or sorrow etc!! 

It's only ONE of the systems of ballet teaching of course but you could look at some RAD teaching videos for the correctness of technique especially if you have daughters learning to dance.

 

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Thank you LinMM! Looking at RAD teaching videos is a great suggestion.

 

I know what you mean about the foot being upturned in arabesque, I think it may be called winging the foot? I also think it looks better when the foot is in line with the leg although it can look nice in attitude.

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